On the Ball: Most Lopsided Grand Slam Finals
Marin Cilic’s 6–3, 6–3, 6–3 win over Kei Nishikori Monday for the men’s U.S. Open title was less than thrilling, as the pride of Japan was unable to mount any sort of resistance.
Fortunately for him, it wasn’t the biggest blowout in the final of a men’s major. Even some of the greats have been on the wrong end of a major final blowout. Here are the five biggest, on the men’s side, in the open era (since 1968):
5. 2004 U.S. Open final: Roger Federer defeats Lleyton Hewitt 6–0, 7–6 (3), 6–0
Before the trio of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic dominated the majors, there was just Federer mopping up the courts with whoever showed up, winning three of the four grand slams in 2004, 2006, and 2007.
This may have been his most dominating final ever in holding Hewitt to zero games in two of three sets. “The Federer Express” took the first set in just 18 minutes and it wasn’t until the ninth game of the match that Hewitt finally got on the board. He eventually broke back but, Federer got him in the tiebreak before blanking him again in the third set—a set that lasted all of 25 minutes.
4. 1978 French Open final: Bjorn Borg defeats Guillermo Vilas 6–1, 6–1, 6–3
Borg lost a French Open record-low 32 games in seven matches en route to that year’s title as no one, not even Vilas who won the title at Roland Garros the year before, could challenge him.
It marked the second time in four French Opens that these two hooked up in the final (1975), with Borg winning both. Borg was just getting started as the title was his third of six career championships at the French.
3. 1984 Wimbledon final: John McEnroe defeats Jimmy Connors 6–1, 6–1, 6–2
In 1984, McEnroe was on fire winning both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and finishing the year with an incredible 82–3 record. Still, his straight-sets beatdown of eight-time major champion Jimmy Connors was completely unexpected. Although it wasn’t known at the time, the match would represent the 31-year old Connors’ last appearance in a grand slam final.
The match lasted just 80 minutes as the hot-hitting McEnroe lost more games (4), than committed unforced errors (3).
2. 2008 French Open final: Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer 6–1, 6–3, 6–0
Federer had lost to Nadal in the French Open finals each of the past two years, but the third time clearly wasn’t the charm in 2008. Nadal drilled the top-ranked Federer to win his fourth straight at Roland Garros in stunning fashion.
Federer was in trouble from the get-go. Nadal had break points on him in every one of his first-set service games and in 10 of 11 for the match—converting 8 of them. In the second frame Federer, who committed 35 unforced errors to Nadal’s 7, was actually within a point of leveling the set at 4–4 until Nadal closed the door with three straight points and he never looked back.
1. 1974 U.S. Open final: Jimmy Connors defeats Ken Rosewall 6–1, 6–0, 6–1
A little background here: Rosewall was 39 at the time, while Connors was an up-and-coming 22-year-old. In addition, Connors had crushed Rosewall just a couple of months earlier at Wimbledon (6–1, 6–1, 6–4). Unfortunately for the old-timer, this match wouldn’t be much different.
Rosewall won just 19 service points the entire match as Connors dominated him thoroughly on the way to his third major title of the year.